Seeing the ancient city of Petra tops the must-do list for most of Jordan's visitors. Luckily, the nearby town, hills, and desert offer lodging options to accommodate every taste and budget. Whether you value convenient location, local culture, or a room with a view, this list of excellent places to stay (and a few alternatives) have you covered.

Hyatt Zaman

Stone archway in a Hyatt Zaman suite  (photo courtesy of the author)

First, while the name may sound familiar, the Hyatt Zaman is not operated by the well-known American chain. In the case of this independently owned 5-star property, the name Hyatt comes from the Arabic word hayat, meaning "life." Newly re-opened in March 2018 after a change in ownership, the Hyatt Zaman is comprised almost entirely of sandstone buildings from a 200-year-old Jordanian village, all renovated with stunning interiors. 

Take your pick of rooms set in original structures with high ceilings and arched passages. Each is uniquely decorated with traditional textiles and comfy, modern beds. One thing to note is the absence of wifi in the guest rooms—the thick stone walls make getting a signal tricky. But you can connect for free in the hotel lobby and most other common areas. There are multiple options for dining, including an excellent buffet-style breakfast and dinner and a plush, traditional lounge tent outdoors for bonfires and Arabic music.

The Hyatt Zaman is not in the town of Wadi Musa; it sits about 15 minutes from Petra in the nearby hills (a shuttle service is provided multiple times daily for hotel guests). This distance from the epicenter of tourist activity isn't a bad thing—and with a pool, gym, hammam (Turkish bath), and upscale souq (market) on the grounds, there will be plenty to keep you busy after a long day of trekking through the ancient Rose City. 

Petra Bed-and-Breakfast

Mosaic tilework and hillside views with breakfast at Petra bed-and-breakfast (photo courtesy of the author)

If you want proximity to Petra and love the charm of a bed-and-breakfast, check out the family-run Petra Bed and Breakfast. Located just three minutes by car (or a pleasant 15-minute stroll downhill) from Petra's main entrance, this multi-story property is high enough in the hills that you feel a world away from the crowds. Rooms and their private baths are comfortable, and there are multiple common areas, including a shaded garden and a large terrace with views that will make you want to skip Petra altogether to relax here instead. 

A draw for travelers interested in horseback riding: there's an on-site stable, and unique day-long and overnight rides in the nearby mountains can be arranged. For the adventurous, you can ride all the way to Wadi Rum in six days, camping under the stars as you go.

It's good to note that the rooms, breakfast area, and deck are all located up a flight (or more) of stairs, with no elevator. If you're in need of something more accessible and like the idea of a bed-and-breakfast in the hills, check out the Petra Fig Tree Villa instead. It's more spartan in terms of amenities (you'll share the bathroom and limited hot water supply), but the beds are comfy, and the views are just as nice. 

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Seven Wonders Camp

Lanterns illuminate the boulders around the camp (photo courtesy of Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp)

To experience Bedouin culture for a night, most people head to the desert wilderness of Wadi Rum—but there are actually a number of authentic Bedouin camps right in Petra's backyard. Seven Wonders is a good one, and it's located just north of Petra on the edge of Siq Al-Barad, an archaeological area known more commonly as "Little Petra" for its similar features.

Expect private tents with beds covered in multiple thick blankets, shared (clean and modern) bathroom facilities, an outdoor fire pit, and traditional food served buffet style. You'll enjoy lounging in the beit shar communal tent, where you'll be served endless sweet tea with sage while you sit on floor pillows and chat with fellow travelers around the fire. While there, book a guided excursion—trekking, horseback riding, and sightseeing are all on offer. If you only have time for one, do the Monastery hike through Petra's "back door;" unlike the crowded 900-stairs ascent from the south, the trail from Little Petra is a mellow uphill grade, and you may not see any other tourists at all.

For something even farther off the beaten path, try the Ammarin Bedouin Camp, operated by a local tribe of the same name. In a particularly secluded spot called Siq Al-Amti, accommodations here are simple: mattresses on concrete floors in sections of one long tent. The food and sense of community are up to par, and there's an interesting museum about the Ammarin tribe that's worth a look. At most camps, you can arrange a pickup and dropoff in Wadi Musa for a small fee; this one picks up at the Petra Visitor Center. 

Petra Moon Hotel

Petra Moon's rooftop includes a café and swimming pool (photo courtesy of Petra Moon Hotel)

The 4-star Petra Moon Hotel is in the heart of Wadi Musa, and its location just 300 feet from the park's entrance is ideal for anyone eager to get an early start exploring—you'll also be grateful for the short stroll back to your room after a day of hiking in the sun. There are a number of other decent hotels on the town's main road, but Petra Moon stands out for its family-friendly amenities, making it a great choice when traveling with kids. You can book a large "family room" with five beds; one child under 12 can stay for free, and all the rooms are equipped with air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and soundproofing to protect from street noise.

The sizeable rooftop terrace will also wow travelers. You can relax poolside (from April through September) or in the garden, with the mountains of Petra providing a dramatic backdrop and a lively nightly barbecue.

If Petra Moon is booked, try the Petra Guest House Hotel. Sitting at the entrance to the Siq, the rooms and chalets here have similar amenities. There are lots of great spots to lounge, and the property is home to the famous Cave Bar: an atmospheric bar built into an ancient tomb and one of only a handful of places that serve alcohol in the area. 

Mövenpick Petra

Courtyard of the Mövenpick Petra Hotel & Resort (photo courtesy of Mövenpick)

The Mövenpick Petra Hotel and Resort cannot be overlooked. Yes, it's part of a global chain of luxury hotels, but there are reasons why this particular property shines—namely, its literally unbeatable location directly across the street from Petra's main entrance. This convenience alone is enough for many travelers to book here, but you should also take note of its bright and beautifully appointed courtyard lobby, intricate mosaic tile work, excellent breakfast, swimming pool, and nearly 200 rooms with European amenities and views of the Petra mountains (or the Petra site itself, for a price). 

If the Mövenpick Petra is sold out, don't fret: a sister property sits in a more secluded location 10 minutes away. The Mövenpick Nabataean Castle is perched on a hilltop with views of the area's iconic red desert landscape and offers opportunities for hiking to Wadi Rum and Dana Reserve, a big indoor pool, and the same luxe amenities.